Russian officers captured, Ukraine says

The Ukrainian government on Sunday claimed to have captured two Russian officers who were operating in the rebel-controlled area.

Pair were caught in rebel-controlled area near Luhansk

Members of the Aidar battalion, a volunteer outfit like these members of the Donbass battalion training near Kyiv, captured the two Russian officers, a Ukrainian military spokesman said Sunday. (Wikipedia)

The Ukrainian government on Sunday claimed to have captured two Russian officers who were operating in the rebel-controlled area.

Ukrainian military spokesman Andriy Lysenko said the two Russian officers were captured by the volunteer Aidar battalion in the town of Shchastia, not far from the front line. He would not provide further details and said investigators were questioning the men.

Aidar said on its Facebook page that the two officers were wounded and taken captive in a skirmish in the area early on Sunday.

A year-long conflict between Russia-backed separatists and government troops in eastern Ukraine has killed more than 6,100 people. Russia has repeatedly denied that it was supplying the separatists with rebels or recruits despite the mounting evidence testifying to the contrary.

Shchastia, a town less than 20 kilometres north of the rebel-controlled regional capital Luhansk and home to a strategic power station, has repeatedly changed hands throughout the conflict.

Anton Herashchenko, a Ukrainian member of parliament, on Sunday posted a video on Facebook purporting to show the questioning of one of the two officers.

The young man who was shown lying in a hospital bed introduced himself as Sgt. Alexander Alexandrov of the Russian Special Forces from the Volga River city of Togliatti. He said he was operating in the area in a group consisting of 14 men.

Alexandrov said he had been based in the rebel stronghold Luhansk since March 6, and that he and his comrades had been rotating in and out of the area around Shchastia every four to five days.

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